Picente: USA Luge Summer Slider Search Coming to Utica August 22nd, 23rd

Joined by Women’s Luge Champion Erin Hamlin of Remsen, Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr., today announced that young Oneida County athletes who want to emulate Hamlin in her quest for Olympic gold, who want to experience the thrill of the fastest sport on ice and who want to train under the guidance of USA Luge national team coaches and athletes can do so when the USA Luge Slider Search rolls into Utica on August 22nd and August 23rd. 

“The annual summer slider search by USA Luge is the first step that can lead to a future in one of the world’s fastest sports,” Picente said. “Erin Hamlin, along with many of her USA Olympic teammates, took her first steps to competition on the plastic sleds that are used for the summer slider search. I encourage young people who have shared Erin’s dream as they have watched her work hard, never give up and rise to be a champion to give this competition a try. They could be our region’s next Olympian.” 

USA Luge annually offers the summer slider search to recruit candidates between the ages of 11 and 14 who can become the world’s fastest athletes on ice. Because training requires years of work, young men and young women aged 11-14 are prime future competitors.
The Summer Slider Search in Utica will be held on the hill down Cornelia Street between Court and Columbia Streets near Utica City Hall. Two Slider Search clinics will be held each day, 9 a.m.-Noon and 2 p.m.-5 p.m. Only 25 slots are open for each clinic. The cost per participant is $15. Advance registration is on line at www.usaluge.org, or by calling 1-800-USA-LUGE. Advance registration ensures a spot; if there are vacancies, athletes can register the day of the event. Boys and girls 11 to 14 are eligible. All athletes participating must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
“This is a chance for a young athlete to actually get on a sled and see what the luge is all about, and to see if they want to make the kind of commitment that it takes,” Hamlin said. “I’m very excited that USA Luge is able to bring this great event here to Oneida County so that all of the young people who I have come to meet as a result of my competing in the luge can have their chance to give it a try.”
“Utica is proud to host this event and further rally our area behind Erin Hamlin, who has made all of us in the area so proud as a World Champion and a competitor who never gives up,” said Utica Mayor David Roefaro. “I hope that young people ages 11 to 14 will turn out to see what this great sport is about and see if they could be the next Olympian from our area.”
During a USA Luge Slider Search clinic, USA Luge coaches and athletes teach youngsters the basics of riding a luge sled, including position, steering and stopping. Armed with the basics, the young athletes make several runs down a paved street on wheeled sleds. Finally, the youngsters measure their physical skills through a battery of fitness tests. Those who show the most promise at the clinics are invited to train in Lake Placid or Park City, Utah. They also will be considered for the 2010-2011 USA Luge development team.

Currently, most of USA Luge's national team are graduates of the Slider Search, including Brian Martin a 1998 Olympic bronze and 2002 Olympic silver medalist. The Search also produced reigning women's World Champion Erin Hamlin along with eight members of USA Luge's 2006 Olympic team.